A Study on Prevalence and Risk Factors for Varicose Veins in Nurses at a University Hospital

Saf Health Work. 2018 Mar;9(1):79-83. doi: 10.1016/j.shaw.2017.08.005. Epub 2017 Aug 24.


Background: Lower-limb varicose veins (VVs) are common and known to have a higher prevalence among people who work in occupations requiring prolonged standing. In the Republic of Korea, however, VV-related occupational factors have seldom been examined. This study was conducted to assess the prevalence of VVs among nurses, an occupational group considered to be at high risk of VVs, and determine the occupational risk factors of prolonged standing.

Methods: Between March and August 2014, a questionnaire survey coupled with Doppler ultrasonography was conducted on the nurses working at a university hospital.

Results: A total of 414 nurses participated in the survey and diagnostic testing. From the survey analysis and test results, the prevalence of VVs in nurses was estimated to be 16.18%. Significant factors for venous reflux were age [odds ratio (OR) = 1.06, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.03-1.10], pregnancy (OR = 2.15, 95% CI = 1.17-3.94), and delivery (OR = 2.02, 95% CI = 1.08-3.78). The statistical significance of these factors was verified after risk adjustment for sociodemographic factors (OR = 3.40, 95% CI = 1.27-9.09).

Conclusion: Factors significantly associated with venous reflux were increasing age and prolonged working hours (≥ 4 hours) in a standing position (OR = 2.80, 95% CI = 1.08-7.25), even after risk adjustment for sociodemographic factors. This study is significant in that an objective diagnosis of VVs preceded the analysis of the risk factors for VV incidence, thus verifying objectively that VVs are associated with occupations requiring prolonged hours of working in a standing position.

Keywords: nurse; occupational risk factor; prevalence; varicose vein.